Chief of Staff

Chief of Staff United States Army
William J. Schafer

Chief of Staff
First Army
Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois 61299-8400
May 02, 2013

Colonel William Schafer earned his commission in Dec. 1984 through ROTC at East Stroudsburg University, Pa., where he received his bachelor’s degree in Economics. Upon completing the Infantry Officer Basic Course at Fort Benning, Ga., 2nd Lt. Schafer received his initial duty assignment to 1st Battalion (Airborne), 325th Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C. where he served as a Platoon Leader in B & D Companies and as the Executive Officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company.

Upon completion of the Infantry Officer Advanced Course (IOAC) at Fort Benning, 1st Lt. Schafer was assigned to Kirchgoens, Germany where he was the Adjutant, 5th Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Armored Division. In March 1990 Capt. Schafer assumed command of C Company, 5th Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment; which he commanded through Operation Desert Storm.

In Oct. 1991 Capt. Schafer was assigned to Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC), Fort Polk, La. as the Anti-tank Platoon Observer/Controller (OC) and as the Rifle Company Senior OC. He then returned to Fort Benning as a Small Group Instructor, IOAC, 1st Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment; as the Commander, E Company, 4th Ranger Training Battalion; and as the Assistant Operations Officer of the Ranger Training Brigade. Capt. Schafer’s following assignment was to Fort Leavenworth, Kan. to attend the Army’s Command & General Staff Officer Course.

Upon graduation from Command & General Staff Course, Maj. Schafer returned to Fort Benning where he served as the Brigade Adjutant, Infantry Training Brigade; Executive Officer, 2nd Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, Infantry Training Brigade; Operations Officer, 4th Ranger Training Battalion, Ranger Training Brigade; Executive Officer, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division; and as the Brigade Operations Officer, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division. In June 2001 Maj. Schafer was assigned overseas to Osan, Korea where he was the Operations Officer (Joint), C/J-3, 3rd Battlefield Coordination Detachment, Korea Combined Forces Command, United States Forces Korea, Eighth United States Army. While overseas he was promoted to Lt. Col. in Jan. 2002.

Once his tour in Korea was complete, Lt. Col. Schafer was assigned to Fort Carson, Colo. to serve on the Commanders’ Initiative Group, 7th Infantry Division in preparation for an upcoming command. He transferred to the 4th Infantry Division and deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom as part of the Division G3 and assumed command of 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. Lt. Col. Shafer commanded the battalion during the initial phases of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After returning from Iraq, Lt. Col. Schafer assumed command of, 2nd Squadron, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division.

In Feb. 2005 he returned to Fort Polk to assume command of the Joint Readiness Training Center, serving as the Senior Infantry Battalion Observer/Controller. In June 2006, Lt. Col. Schafer transferred to Washington, D.C. to attend the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF) at Fort McNair. While there, he was promoted to Col. in May 2007 and earned his master’s degree in National Resource Strategy.

Col. Schafer’s next assignment was the Pentagon, as the Chief, Joint Training Functional Capabilities Board, Operational Plans and Joint Force Development, J7, Joint Staff. From June 2009 to 2011, Col. Schafer served as Commander, 5th Armored Brigade, First Army Division West at Fort Bliss, Texas. In July 2011 Col. Schafer transferred to First Army Headquarters to perform the duties as DCS G3/5/7. In May 2013 he became the Chief of Staff, First Army.

Col. Schafer’s awards and decorations include: the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal with “V”, 2nd Award; the Bronze Star Medal; the Defense Meritorious Service Medal; the Meritorious Service Medal, 6th Award; the Army Commendation Medal, 3rd Award; and the Army Achievement Medal, 4th Award. Col. Schafer has also earned the Combat Infantryman Badge with Star; Expert Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, and the Ranger Tab.